Over half of the adults in North Carolina age 18 or older have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday.
“This is a significant milestone toward our goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and bringing summer back to North Carolina,” said DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen in a press release.
The state reported Thursday that 50.1% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose and 43.1% of NC adults are fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. That means people have received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
Gov. Roy Cooper said last week at a press conference that he expects to lift most pandemic restrictions on June 1 if new cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease. Both metrics have steadily declined since mid-April.
But he would only lift the indoor mask mandate if at least two-thirds of NC adults are at least partially vaccinated. The outdoor mask mandate was lifted on Friday.
The state is not on track to reach two-thirds by June, though. Over the last three weeks, vaccine rates have dropped by over half, The N&O reported this week.
NCDHHS reported Thursday that the state has administered more than 7.4 million vaccines. That means nearly 40% of the state’s total population has received at least one dose.
Of adults 65 and older, more than 74% are fully vaccinated. That group was hardest hit among coronavirus deaths.
Over 1 million additional adults would need to need to receive their first dose of the vaccine to get to the two-thirds figure by June.
North Carolina could get there, but vaccine rates would need to return to early April levels and stay there, officials say.
Numerous providers are now providing shots without appointments. Find a location through the state’s Find a Vaccine Location site or call 888-675-4567.